Volish chairman Sir William Gates III has said that there were difficulties in finding a CEO who can replace Steve "sounds of silence" Ballmer.
Gates, who is Microsoft chairman and sworn enemy of the mosquito, is on a four person team to find a new "Steve" and was chatting to shareholders about the difficulties in picking the next leader of the world's largest software company.
He said that he had been doing many meetings with both internal and external candidates and was pleased with the progress.
Ballmer said in August he planned to retire within 12 months, and the CEO search committee - headed by lead independent director and former IBM executive John Thompson gave itself a year. It is expected that there will be an announcement in January.
Gates said that being a CEO was a complex role to fill. Ballmer had very big shoes apparently. Gates paused briefly and choked up with emotion after he thanked Ballmer for his work at the company, which was nice that he noticed.
He added that there were a lot of different skills, experience and capabilities that are needed, he said. Microsoft is a complex global business, the person has to be comfortable in a highly technical organisation and have an ability to work with our top technical talent to seize the opportunities, Sir Bill said.
Reuters claims that the Microsoft shortlist of candidates is Ford Motor chief Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, as well as former Skype CEO and internal candidate Tony Bates, now responsible for Microsoft's business development.
Microsoft remains highly profitable and last month beat Wall Street's quarterly profit and revenue forecasts.